The Fantastic Four – Teaser Trailer

There’s been rumors that Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot is a massive train wreck, though if that happens to be the case, there’s no trace of it in the first official teaser (as if there would be even if that happens to be true).

Though there are problems–if the trailer is any indicator–namely it feels very derivative.  The upcoming movie may have been produced by the same person that worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past, but that doesn’t mean that it has to feel exactly the same, by which I mean needlessly ponderous and weighty.

It feels the direct opposite of the approach that Marvel Studios tends to take with their movies.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: The Manitou

The Manitou movie posterSome people might call William Girdler’s The Manitou a ripoff of The Exorcist, and in a sense they’d be right in that both involve possession of a sort.  Then’s there’s the fact that Girdler’s film came five years afterwards, though other than that it’s a whole other animal and deserves revisiting.

The movie, based on the novel by horror writer Graham Masterson, revolves around a woman named Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg), who one day discovers that she has a tumor on her back.

Which is a huge mindfuck in and of itself, never mind that the tumor ends up being the doorway–and by “doorway” I mean a full-sized human being grows on her back and eventually rips its way out long before Alien was even an idea for Walter Hill and David Giler–through which Misquamacus, a Native American sorcerer, would be reborn after 400 years.

The premise of the movie is pretty goofy, which works in its favor because it makes it feel more original than it actually is.

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Serial Killing 101- Review

Trace Slobotkin‘s 2004 movie, Serial Killing 101 (otherwise known as Serial Killing 4 Dummys) is a shockingly–”shockingly” because it looks relatively cheap– entertaining movie.

Visually, the problems are due to the cinematography of John P. Tarver, who’s lighting seems to wash out virtually everything it touches.

Which is a pity because once you get beyond that, the movie is actually pretty clever, even witty, at times.

Events revolve around Casey Nolan (Justin Urich) an actor that actually looks like a high school student–which very well might have been the case at the time–casting that’s appreciated when filmmakers are too often quick to pass off twenty-somethings as teens.

He’s a bit of a slacker, and bored with school, which results in him writing a paper about his desire to be a serial killer, which  doesn’t go over too well with his teacher, Mr. Korn’s (Rick Overton), who’s intervention sets into motion a whole series of unfortunate–for Casey–events.

As I said earlier, the movie is more clever than you’d think, and shockingly fun.

Serial Killing 4 Dummys

Whatever the guy (in red circle) is staring at, it’s not Casey

It also has some big name actors, such as Thomas Hayden Church (as an tad overzealous gym teacher), a virtually unrecognizable Corey Feldman (prior to the credits, I had no idea he was even in the movie, though after a second viewing I wondered how I missed him in the first place) as a store clerk, Lisa Loeb as Sasha Fitzgerald as a serial killer enabler (?) and eventual love interest and the great George Murdock as Detective Ray Berro.

I mentioned how clever the writing of this movie was, and there was an interesting payoff of an earlier scene in the movie that’s particularly well-handled (some of the practical FX, not so much).  It shouldn’t be so surprising to see a bit that’s set up in the beginning of the movie pay off at the end, but there you go.

Things wrap up a bit too neatly–all that was missing was a bow–as Casey’s fortunes begin to turn, but that’s a small gripe.

It’s also worth mentioning the winning performance by Stuart Stone (Amil) because once you get used the character, he threatens to steal any scene he turns up in.

Serial Killing 101 isn’t a great movie; it’s barely good, though what it is fun and doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, which is an okay every once in awhile.

 

Serial Killing 101 is currently on Netflix.

 

Project Almanac – Trailer

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.  They also shouldn’t play with time machines.  Project Almanac is a story about a bunch of teens that do just that (play with time machines, not dead things) and how they have to work to correct all that they have inevitably screwed up.

The movie hasn’t even premiered yet, and Michael Bay, who produced it, is already issuing apologies for its content.

Gotta be some sort of record.

Frank – Review

Frank movie poster

“”Frank” Is Thematically Reminiscent Of “Boyhood,” Except Stuff Happens.”

Lenny Abrahamson‘s Frank in some ways reminded me of Boyhood, in the sense that both movies are about change and growing up, but what I find most interesting how the former film is at times touching, sad, funny and irritating, as opposed to the latter, which–particularly after the second hour–became a test in audience endurance.

Frank revolves around a band, Soronprfbs, and their enigmatic lead singer, Frank (Michael Fassbender) who wears a huge paper mache head everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.

In fact, you don’t see the character without it till the last fifteen or twenty minutes of the movie.

Frank shower scene

Did I mention he NEVER takes off the fake head?

What makes Frank, the movie, though the individual is pretty interesting as well, so fascinating is that any other movie that revolved around a guy who who wore a huge paper mache head everywhere you could be relatively certain that it would be the crux of the entire movie.

Instead the movie is about growing up, and understanding that sometimes to build something beautiful you have to break it down.

I wish Boyhood were nearly as succinct and profound; though mainly succinct.

 

Frank is currently on Neflix.

Throwing Out The Baby With The Bathwater?

I haven’t seen Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, and I hold no animus toward the director (though I don’t particularly like what little I know about his politics).

That being said, why anyone would use an artificial baby when it was probably as easy–if not easier–to use a real one is literally beyond comprehension.

As anyone who’s read this blog is aware, I am a HUGE fan of practical effects, though with a caveat:  If there’s an existing thing that you are trying to put in your movie, it seems logical to me that you’d use it, if at all possible.  We don’t have dinosaurs, so though practical and CGI effects we bring them to life, so to speak.

This makes sense, though the last time I checked, there are plenty of babies, so why wouldn’t an actually child be used?

I have no idea, but as you can tell from the video, the result is hilariously bad.  Now, perhaps within context of the movie the baby doppelgänger perhaps better fit, but judging from the Youtube clip I posted above, I am not seeing it.

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” Screening For Free (For A Limited Time Only)!

How limited, you might ask?  I have no idea, though according to The Daily Dead the free period began on the 16th, two days ago, so if you don’t already have in your collection, I’d take advantage of it before someone comes to their senses.

Besides, the last “horror” film I watched was Children Of The Corn: Urban Harvest, which was pretty funny, though the humor was unfortunately of the unintentional variety.

Unlike Halloween, which was one of the most influential horror films ever made.  What’s most interesting is that, despite how iconic the film may seem to viewers now, at the time Carpenter was making it he not only had any idea it would be as innovative as it ended up being, but its success almost defied logic.